P. Diddy must pay beating victim $2.45 million. A limo driver claims he was beaten in 1995 by bodyguards hired by Sean Combs to protect Mary J. Blige
Sean P. Diddy Combs
Credit: Sean Combs: KRT/Newscom

Sean ”P. Diddy” Combs is taking a legal and financial beatdown over a claim that he bears responsibility for a beatdown a North Carolina limo driver says he suffered in 1995. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that a Forsyth County judge handed down the $2.45 million award on Sept. 10 in a lawsuit filed by Cedric Bobby Lemon, who claims he was beaten by bodyguards Combs had hired to protect then-client Mary J. Blige.

Lemon claimed in his lawsuit that he had a backstage pass for a Blige concert at Joel Coliseum, but that guards clearing a path for her on her way out of the arena punched him and kicked him in the back. Lemon’s complaint said he suffered a broken ankle and a bruised hand and was now ”permanently” unable to participate in ”active sports.” Combs failed to appear in court to contest the lawsuit within a 30-day limit of receiving the complaint, the judge ruled, so Lemon won the suit by default.

Combs’ spokeswoman said he failed to respond to the suit because he was unaware of it, though the Journal said he had refused to accept a court summons from a deputy during a performance in Greenboro in June. ”We have just learned of this lawsuit,” Combs’ spokeswoman said in a statement. ”As it has no merit whatsoever, we intend to take all necessary steps to have it dismissed.”